A professional dog walker in Santa Monica was charged with child endangerment after a 4-year-old girl was bitten in the leg by a Staffordshire terrier, law enforcement authorities said Tuesday evening.
Rebecca McGroerty, 26, was with the dog inside a home in the 2300 block of 23rd Street when the girl was attacked on Oct. 19, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.
Medical personnel stitched the child’s wound and released her to her parents.
Police said the dog’s owner had given McGroerty instructions to always have the animal muzzled and on a leash.
“The dog was not muzzled and off leash at the time of the attack,” Sgt. Jay Moroso said in a statement.
He said the owner also told McGroerty that “the dog was afraid of and aggressive toward small children."
The attack occurred inside the dog owner’s home after the girl had come inside, according to police. The girl did not live there.
“McGroerty’s employer gave her instructions that she was not to have anyone other than employees or residents entering the house,” Moroso said.
The 10-year-old dog was impounded by Santa Monica animal control officers and quarantined for 10 days before it was released to its owner.
McGroerty could not be reached Tuesday evening for comment.
The incident comes in the wake of several high-profile dog attacks across Southern California in recent months.
Last month, supervisors in Riverside County voted for an ordinance requiring pit bulls to be spayed or neutered in incorporated neighborhoods. The action was prompted by several incidents in that county.
In the Santa Monica case, McGroerty is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 26 at the Airport courthouse.